This is more commonly known as a middle ear infection. If your Pediatrician diagnoses your child with an ear infection, it is usually Otitis Media. This is diagnosed by using an otoscope so that the middle ear can be thoroughly examined. Otitis Media can be caused by either a virus or bacteria. It is most common in children under three years of age. Many children develop this condition along with a cold or another upper respiratory infection. Symptoms of a middle ear infection can include;
- ear pain or discomfort often with hearing loss
- change in mood- increased irritability, crying or screaming
- vomiting or nausea
- difficulty sleeping
Below are a few pictures of what a middle ear infection can look like;
This is the other most common type of ear condition in younger children. This time it is the ear canal itself that is impacted. Sometimes Otitis Externa is also called 'Swimmer's Ear'. As evidenced by this nickname, it is often bacterial in origin and can be caused by water/ bacteria being trapped in the ear canal after swimming. Symptoms of Otitis Externa include;
- redness of the visible part of the ear
- hearing loss due to fluid/discharge in the ear canal
Here is a photo of a case of Otitis Externa. You will notice the redness of the outer ear.
Conventional Medical Treatment:
You may not be aware that over 80% of cases of ear infections resolve themselves on their own. The typical treatment are mild pain relievers (analgesics) and antibiotics. Antibiotics are still often prescribed in many cases since they appear to help resolve hearing loss more quickly and many children find relief in 1-2 weeks. It is interesting to note that pediatric organizations are now recommending physicians proceed with more caution in prescribing antibiotics because of the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria.
In spite of the conventional medical treatment available, many children develop recurrent ear infections even with antibiotic treatment. Although the medical profession has asserted that antibiotic treatment for otitis media is effective, recent studies have emerged which contradict those claims. In one large study of children with acute otitis media, those treated with antibiotics actually recovered at a slightly lower rate than those who were not. (Froom, et al, 1990). Another found that children with chronic otitis on prophylactic (preventative) antibiotics were two to six times more likely to have recurrent acute infections than those on placebos (Catankin, et al, 1991). Recently, John Bailar, M.D., a Harvard professor and editorial board member at the New England Journal of Medicine, comprehensively reviewed the scientific literature on the treatment of otitis with antibiotics. He concluded that the available research, "... seems to demolish the conclusion that antibiotics improve the outcome [in otitis media]" (Bailar, 1995). (Exerpted from Homeopathic Medicines for Earaches by Dana Ullmann)
While it is very important to consult your pediatrician for a diagnosis and to make sure there is no perforated ear drum or anything more serious, your pediatrician may not be aware of how Homeopathic medicine can help your child get over an acute ear infection more quickly as well as to reduce their susceptibility to developing ear infections in the first place. Homeopathy can be used both acutely and chronically to treat any type of ear infection. In most acute cases, you will notice a huge improvement in your child and their symptoms ranging anywhere from a few hours to the next day. If you have a child that keeps getting an ear infection with each cold, I would recommend chronic treatment. By choosing the best medicine for your child and their symptoms, Homeopathy is capable of reducing your child's susceptibility to ear infections and other acute ailments.
We have all been influenced by conventional Western medicine's more mechanistic focus on our bodies. Because of this we all want to know if Homeopathy works for a particular pathology or condition. Homeopathy is the medicine of individualization. We are looking for a medicine that is the best match for you and everything that has changed in you since being unwell. This doesn't mean we don't take a diagnosis into account, it just means that we look at what is unique about you and your experience of illness. For example, if I treated 5 children with middle ear infections, they would most likely get different medicines. One child might be weepier and needing to be carried more where as another child develops a sudden fever of the head with discoloration of the outer ears and another child becomes very angry and irritable during the ear infection. Each of these children would get a different Homeopathic medicine because their experience of a middle ear infection is different.
This means there are no homeopathic remedies for ear infections but there are remedies for your child with an ear infection. That is why it is important to consult a well-trained Homeopath for treatment.
For those of you that like to see clinical trials as further evidence of a treatment's efficacy, please see below...
According to a recent study of 75 children with otitis media that was published in Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, parent's diary scores showed a significant decrease in symptoms at 24 and 64 hours after treatment in favor of those given a homeopathic medicine (P<.05). There were also 20% less "treatment failures" in children given a homeopathic medicine as compared with those given a placebo.
[Reference: J Jacobs, DA Springer, D Crothers, Homeopathic Treatment of Acute Otitis Media in Children: A Preliminary Randomized Placebo-controlled Trial, Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 20,2 (February 2001):177-183.]
For more information, please visit my website www.redpearlhomeopathy.com. I am also available to answer your questions via e-mail at email@example.com or via telephone.